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Upshur County Electric Cooperative unveils new solar farm

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Published: May. 11, 2022 at 10:50 AM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 6:55 PM CDT
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UPSHUR COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Soon the East Texas Sun will be adding power to the East Texas grid. Upshur Rural Electric and Hecate Energy joined forces for a ribbon cutting at the new solar farm near the intersection of highways 155 and 259 in Upshur County.

It’s a 3-megawatt solar facility with over 8,000 panels. Hecate Senior Development Analyst Ben Mathes and Upshur Rural Spokesman Tony McCullough say it will be a sunny partnership.

“We work across the United States, but Texas is probably where we do most of our business. Texas has been a great state for solar energy development. Obviously got the fantastic sun, got great partners to work with,” Mathes said.

“We have always been at the forefront of taking care of those in East Texas that others wouldn’t. That’s where we stepped up and did that. And now we’re stepping up and doing that again, bringing solar into part of our energy portfolio,” McCullough said.

Mathes says it’s more than a dual partnership.

“Landowners and utilities and corporations out here who are really growing their economic footprint here in the state of Texas and looking for the power to supply it,” Mathes said.

Mathes says this solar farm is their second largest in Texas with a range of megwattage.

“Half megawatt up to four megawatts, so anywhere from four acres to 40 acres,” Mathes says.

He says this one is about 30 acres. It was supposed to be complete about a month ago, but there were transport delays as well as weather issues.

“Tornadoes, which fortunately everything was safe and secure and no issues there. But at the end of the day, we’ve made it through and we’re looking forward to being a long-term partner with the co-ops,” Mathes said.

Mathes says the proposal for solar was first made by Upshur Rural in 2017. The actual build took about five months on property purchased by Hecate Energy.

According to the Hecate website they have seven solar farms in various stages of development in East Texas and four of them are online. The Upshur County farm will go into operation after a few more parts arrive in the coming days.

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